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AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

McNichol, Tom Author

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9780787982676: AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the AC/DC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. AC/DC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edison's inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the ?operating system? for his future inventions?not to mention the company he founded, General Electric.

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Long before there was VHS versus Betamax, Windows versus Macintosh, or Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD, the first and nastiest standards war was fought between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).

AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison bet wrong in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the AC/DC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. AC/DC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edison's inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the "operating system" for his future inventions—not to mention the company he founded, which would later become General Electric.

The battle over whether alternating or direct current would be the standard for transmitting electricity around the world changed the lives of billions of people, shaped the modern technological age, and set the stage for all standards wars to follow. Today's Digital Age wizards can take lessons from Edison's fierce battle—control an invention's technical standard and you control the market.

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Praise for AC/DC

"You'll never look at your wall socket the same again."
—Evan Ratliff, coauthor, Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World

"From the twisted copper wires of electricity's early years McNichol spins a story buzzing with genius and fraud, ambition and infamy, hilarity and humiliation. It's a joy to read: a comic operetta of American industrial history, full of great men, small minds and an alarming number of dead dogs."
—Craig Stoltz, health editor, Washington Post

"Few writers explain technology as well as Tom McNichol. No one's as good at finding the humor in it."
—Jeffrey O'Brien, senior editor, Wired magazine

"A fascinating history of the battle that decided what comes through the wires when we flick a switch. A great story of how far people will go to prove they're 'right' – and make a buck."
—J. J. Yore, executive producer, public radio's Marketplace

"A tale of astonishing genius and greed, a perfect reflection of the competing forces that built corporate America. McNichol offers us a ringside seat at the birth of a superpower, and it's a bloody, messy, and altogether fascinating spectacle."
—Brooke Gladstone, cohost, NPR's On the Media

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Book Description Jossey-Bass, 2013. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "You'll never look at your wall socket the same again." -Evan Ratliff, coauthor, Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World "From the twisted copper wires of electricity's early years McNichol spins a story buzzing with genius and fraud, ambition and infamy, hilarity and humiliation. It's a joy to read: a comic operetta of American industrial history, full of great men, small minds and an alarming number of dead dogs." -Craig Stoltz, health editor, Washington Post "Few writers explain technology as well as Tom McNichol. No one's as good at finding the humor in it." -Jeffrey O'Brien, senior editor, Wired magazine "A fascinating history of the battle that decided what comes through the wires when we flick a switch. A great story of how far people will go to prove they're 'right' - and make a buck." -J. J. Yore, executive producer, public radio's Marketplace "A tale of astonishing genius and greed, a perfect reflection of the competing forces that built corporate America. McNichol offers us a ringside seat at the birth of a superpower, and it's a bloody, messy, and altogether fascinating spectacle." -Brooke Gladstone, cohost, NPR's On the Media. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0787982679

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Book Description John Wiley Sons Inc, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 231 x 157 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the AC/DC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. AC/DC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edison s inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the A operating systemA for his future inventionsA-not to mention the company he founded, General Electric. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780787982676

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McNichol, Tom Author
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Book Description John Wiley Sons Inc, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 231 x 157 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the AC/DC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. AC/DC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edison s inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the A operating systemA for his future inventionsA-not to mention the company he founded, General Electric. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780787982676

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Book Description 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st. 161mm x 22mm x 236mm. Hardcover. "AC/DC" tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electri.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 208 pages. 0.381. Bookseller Inventory # 9780787982676

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Book Description Jossey-Bass. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. Hardcover. 208 pages. ACDC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the ACDC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. ACDC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edisons inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the operating system for his future inventionsnot to mention the company he founded, General Electric. This item ships from La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 9780787982676

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